by James C. Sherlock
I have come across a major study in the National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine that made a point that I have not explored sufficiently to this point.
It discusses the intersection of nursing homes, home health care, CON laws like Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN) law, and Medicaid expenditures.
I have shown over time in a series of columns how bad many of Virginia’s nursing homes are.
Antitrust authorities at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and at the US Department of Justice (DOJ) have long taken the position that CON laws are anticompetitive.
This study, conducted prior to COVID, indicates that COPN administration will ensure that nursing facilities not only have little competition from other facilities, which it was designed to do, but also will limit home health care expansion, which the COPN law does not mention.
That is very good for the Virginia nursing home industry.
It is bad for every other Virginian, every one of whom may need at least post-operative recovery and rehabilitation if not long term care.
Some will need it in a dedicated facility, others can be better served at home.
The study indicated that COPN will tend to make home health care less available and potentially raise total Medicaid spending. It also showed that market forces unconstrained by CON laws like COPN will tend to reverse those trends.
So this article is dedicated to our politicians and their constituents.
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